Go slow when shoveling snow, says ER doc

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KINGSTON – With as much as two feet of snow on the ground and more expected, removing it from driveways and sidewalks is a monumental chore.

Dr. Gigi Madore, the medical director of the HealthAlliance Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine in Kingston advises shovelers to take it easy.

“It is like a stress test. It is stressful to be out shoveling, especially for a prolonged period of time and especially when it is so cold out because you then get heated up and that can be problematic,” she said.

Dr. Gigi Madore

If you are using a snow blower and it becomes clogged, shut it off and attempt to clear it with a branch or some other object – not your hand, you could lose a finger.

Snowstorms can be fun for the kids with sledding, snow tubing and tobogganing.

Dr. Madore  said during a typical winter season, the hospital’s emergency department cares for dozens of children injured during those activities. “These injuries can be brises, broken bones or fractures, or abdominal injuries. More serious injuries to the head can also occur, such as facial lacerations, concussions and brain bleeding, so wearing a helmet is a crucial safety step,” she said.

All of those injuries are preventable, said Dr. Madore.

Whether you are shoveling snow, riding a snowmobile, sled or toboggan, dress warmly with layers of clothing, wear gloves and keep your face covered to avoid frostbite.